How to combat radicalisation in schools

Carole Loader, director at Mesma, offers guidance on the government’s Prevent duty

The advice provided by the Prevent duty will contribute significantly to making sure education training providers help keep young people safe from the risk of radicalisation in this country. Building the resilience of young people lies at the heart of the matter, and teachers and others with learning responsibilities can do this by offering safe places in which to engage with controversial issues. It is important that young people can develop the understanding and confidence to challenge extremist beliefs and ideologies. So, what are the important points to consider for education providers?

  • External speakers and events

Education Providers must have policies and procedures in place for the management of any events, as it’s essential that institutions do not provide a platform for individuals with links to terrorism. You need to check if there are sufficient welfare arrangements for students/learners who may be subjected to radicalisation in their lives and ensure staff are trained and equipped to recognise changing behaviour that could be associated with radicalisation.

  • Partnerships

It is important to build relationships with local BIS prevent co-ordinators to get support and advice on strategies. If a provider doesn’t know who they are, their contact details can be found at There may also be the need for a single point of contact where people can got or advice and support if management arrangements are shared across several curriculum areas or geographical sites.

  • Risk assessment

Procedures for assessing the risk for students/learners, staff and visitors should be in place. Any assessment should examine policies regarding welfare facilities and resources, including equality and diversity, safety and physical management of the estate. There should also be a clear policy in place for whistleblowing and complaints. If in England, providers need to specify that the matter can be raised with the SFA or EFA if an individual feels their grievance is not being taken seriously by the provider. 

It’s expected that the systems to monitor sub-contracted provision are rigorous enough to ensure that providers are not inadvertently funding extremist organisations. If in Wales, then providers must adhere to the Safe Working Practice Guidance.

  • Action plan

Ensure there is a system for notifying risks to the BIS Prevent Coordinator and other necessary organisations. These should be clear and unequivocal.

  • Staff training

It’s expected that staff training is appropriate to the job role and provided in a timely manner. This applies not just to front-line staff but to Board members, leaders and managers. Encouraging all staff to lead by example, demonstrate British values, and respect for other people is essential.

  • Welfare and pastoral care/chaplaincy support

There should be a clear and widely available policy covering the use of prayer-rooms or faith-related facilities.


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